11 Jul David Denny, Devin Regan Pioneer Virtual Reality in New Orleans
David Denny and Degin Regan are Maryland natives who first came to New Orleans to help in cleanup efforts after the BP oil spill. They co-founded VR Arcade NOLA in 2016, becoming Louisiana’s first and only virtual reality event services company. Read in this WhyNOLA Q&A why they wanted to launch their entrepreneurial venture in New Orleans.
NOLABA: Why is New Orleans a good place for a virtual reality company like yours?
Regan: Well first the convention center is huge (sixth-largest in the nation). So between that and private parties like birthday parties, trade shows and corporate getaways, just about anybody can reach out to us – even if it’s just a happy hour throwing virtual reality in – you add something unique. The best part definitely is watching people’s reactions. Every single person who goes in there has a different reaction of varying degrees of amazement.
Denny: New Orleans is such a close-knit town that everybody knows everyone else or is one person removed from everyone else. So if you have an exciting idea like this, it tends to spread quickly to a bunch of different networks. There are so many fields that virtual reality is going to affect. A neurosurgeon here reached out to us with some 3D imagery he wants to try to import into virtual reality and be able to look at different things within virtual reality. We’re really just at the starting point of what it can do.
NOLABA: How do you respond when you’re asked Why NOLA?
Regan: New Orleans has so many entrepreneurs. I lived in Baltimore before I lived here, and Baltimore obviously has some entrepreneurs like every city does, but there aren’t as many. So when you’re talking to someone and say you’re starting a business, some look at you like you’re crazy, but in New Orleans, everybody knows at least a handful of people who also run their own business, so they’re very familiar with the hustle it takes and what’s it like to start a business and struggle sometimes. Everybody is there willing and wanting to lend a hand. So it’s way different in this city than other cities – people here are genuinely excited for you and supportive.
Denny: There are a ton of resources in New Orleans for people trying to get started. New Orleanians in general are so friendly and gregarious at all times, and that applies to the business world. People are happy to help you with their advice and their time. Experienced business people have given us a lot of good tips to help us get going.